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The Spay Bus

August 31st, 2010

(By Lois Swagerty–reprinted from Today’s Local News 1.12.07)           

The hum of a special event filled the local parking lot. Balloons were flying, signs flapping, coffee urns flowing, orange-vested volunteers directing traffic—all the excitement of an outdoor festival.

Where did this whirl of activity come from, my girlfriend and I wondered as we walked down a street that’s usually quiet on Saturday mornings. Cars lined up, dogs frolicked in the backs of pick-up trucks, and a carnival atmosphere reigned.

Then we rounded the corner and saw the reason why: the Spay Bus had come to town.

I’m not kidding. There really is a vehicle called the Spay Bus—or the Neuter Scooter—depending upon which one comes to the neighborhood nearest you. Designed as an easy way to curb the propagation of unwanted pets, I think it’s a concept whose time has come.

I wish they’d had something similar years ago when it was time for my kids to be immunized.

“Hey kids, let’s go for a ride on the bus!” It would have saved all the weeping and wailing that occurred when they realized we were going to the doctor’s for their shots.

A number of companies already provide portable services. There’s mobile car detailing, windshield repair, and pet groomers who come right to your door.

Just think of the other services that could follow suit.

Move over, Bloodmobile. Make way for the Vasectomy Van. It’s the perfect solution for all those reluctant husbands who promised their wives they’d have the procedure, but never got around to scheduling appointments.

“Here, Honey, I’ve got a free ticket for you.” I can see it now.

We felt a bit sorry for the unsuspecting pets who thought they were going on a special outing. It could scar them for life, or at least make them skittish about busses.

It’s almost as bad as some of the trickery I used when my kids were small. When we were at the park and the ice cream truck came by, I didn’t want my son begging me for a treat, so I told him it was a music truck.

Technically speaking, it wasn’t a lie. It was a partial truth. I’ll never forget the time he came running up with the light of discovery in his eyes and said, “Mom! Guess what else is inside the music truck!”

You may think my mothering methods were cruel and unusual, but I meant well. I felt a little bad recently when the same son, now 23, mentioned that the music truck was playing a new song in his neighborhood. Everyone laughed at his choice of words, and I had to take the blame.

But I was not alone. He and his brother joined in perpetrating another innocent scam on their baby sister. They convinced her that the bruise on the banana was extra sweet, the most coveted part.

“Give her the bruise,” they would say, and she thought she was getting special treatment.

A little harmless deception merely ensures that our kids will have fodder for years of psychotherapy.  Someday they’ll write a best-seller about how horribly they were treated.

Can you imagine the books those newly neutered pets could write? But if dogs could read, they wouldn’t be caught dead near the spay bus in the first place. It might have to be disguised as a toy store.

Men—just watch out the next time you go into Spays “R” Us.

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